Monkeys and humans are both primates — I think that’s why humans find monkeys so entertaining to watch. There are 260 species of monkeys currently living in the world, here are a few monkey species I have seen in the wild.
Monkeys are generally divided into two major types: Old World and New World.
The Old World monkeys photographed here were seen in different parts of Africa. They are also found in Asia.
Baboons are one of the easier Old World monkeys to spot not only because of their larger size, but also because they travel in large troops. There were many instances when the safari vehicle rounded a corner to find a troop of 50 or 100 baboons walking their daily route.
Monkeys grooming one another is a frequent occurrence; it is one of my favorite monkey observations. Known as social grooming, it is done for health benefits as well as relationship bonding.
Typical of monkeys, the vervet monkeys have extensive hierarchies and elaborate social behavior.
Vervets have been known to express 30 different alarm calls. They can readily be observed vocalizing warnings to their peers when a predator is nearby. Vervets take this vocalization to a higher level of intelligence by specifically saying which of their four predators is lurking.
Our guides could tell us what predator we were about to see based on the different vocalizations they recognized in the vervet monkeys’ alarm calls.
Native to Africa, black-and-white colobus monkeys are strikingly beautiful to see dancing among the treetops.
Blue monkeys, though they’re not really blue, mostly eat fruit and can be found in Central and East Africa.
Now let’s head to the Western Hemisphere. New World monkeys, found in Central and South America, include the capuchin and howler monkeys.
There are approximately ten different kinds of capuchin monkeys, sporting many different colors. They are considered the most intelligent of the New World monkeys. Energetic and lithe, they have been used as service animals to assist people challenged with spinal injuries.
Known for their eerie, howling calls, howler monkeys are considered to be the loudest land animal. It is one of my favorite sounds in the rainforest…except for my first time when I thought I was going to die.
Here’s a You Tube video with a good howler recording. Click here.
It is an expansive family of interesting beings, our fellow primates, the monkeys.
Written by Jet Eliot.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.